Exercises at the Computer

Sometimes you sit down at the computer just to check your email and pretty soon you realize you’ve been sitting there for over an hour. Spending extended periods of time on the computer can negatively affect your posture as well as your joints and muscles.

The video below shows you some simple stretches and exercises you can do to counteract that process:

(turn your speakers on)

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To get started, scoot forward in your chair a little and sit up tall.

Arms Back – Bring your arms straight out in front of you. Turn the palms up. Now move your arms away from each other out to the side. The hands should always be shoulder height.

Bring the arms back as far as you can and pull your shoulders back and stick your chest out. Then bring the arms forward back to where they started and repeat slowly 5-10 times. Be sure to keep the palms up the whole time.

This exercise stretches the tight muscles on the front of your chest and shoulder and strengthens the muscles in your upper back that get stretched out from being at the computer too long.

Neck Pull Backs – Stick you neck out and jut your chin forward, then pull the head back as far as possible tucking the chin in. Repeat 5-10 times. This is strengthening the muscles on the back of your neck that hold your head back where it’s supposed to be instead of jutted forward.

Wrist Stretch – Extend one arm out in front of you again, but this time your palm will be down. Bend the wrist so your fingers are pointing towards the floor. Now use the other hand to pull those fingers towards you.

Keep the elbow straight and hold for about 30 seconds. Then do the other arm. You should feel this on the top of the forearm.

Twist – Twist as far as you can to one side like you were trying to look straight behind you. Grab on to the backrest of the chair and hold there for about 30 seconds. Then twist to the other side and hold.

Note: None of these exercises should feel painful. Only go to the point where you feel the stretch, no further.

One More Tip

The way that pressure is distributed in your lower back changes a lot when you’re sitting compared to when you’re standing. Sitting too long, especially with a slight forward lean or hunch to use the keyboard or see the screen can lead to back pain for many people.

That is why I recommend that if you are going to be sitting at the computer for a while, try to get up every 30 minutes and stand tall or walk around for a couple minutes. This will allow the pressure in your lower back to get redistributed for a bit.

Action Plan: Watch the video again and try the exercises along with me. Then you can write them down if you want and keep them by your computer.

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